It’s that time of year again, England have gone out of another international tournament in this case the under 21 European Championships in Israel. So off we go with mass, post mortem discussions about the state of the English game until something else more newsworthy comes along. Then the debate is shelved once more until the next time England go out of a tournament which presumably will be in Brazil next year assuming they qualify!
However for Reds fans there is good news on the international front. Congratulations to Conor Coady who has been named as England’s captain for the under 20 World Cup in Turkey. This caps a good year for our man as he made his debut for us at Fulham towards the end of last season. This tournament promises to be different from the last one. Apparently then over 50 players withdrew from the squad because it clashed with pre season. FIFA have changed the dates now but if anyone is looking for an excuse about why England go out of tournaments then they should look no further than this incident as a reason?
Back to base and BR has been waxing lyrical about the club summer transfer policy without, understandably, giving any clues about potential targets. I guess it’s a bit tangled for the club at present in addition to the uncertainty about Luis Suarez’s future there is also that of Andy Carroll who doesn’t appear keen to play ball in a proposed £15m move to West Ham? Presumably if, or when, these issues are finalised BR know how much he has to spend and, as a result, what quality of targets he can go for?
“We need one or two centre halves and I’m looking to bring 20 more goals into the team. So I’m also looking at another offensive player to give us a real threat on goal and another attacking midfield player. We definitely need to do that, especially if we’re going to put some young ones out on loan next season to gain experience. But it’s not easy when you can’t make mistakes. We want to keep the acceleration and pushing on so this is a very important window for us. We have to do our best to make it right because the players who need to come in have to be effective right from the off.”
All this looks good but it does sound a bit like an over enthusiastic kid’s Christmas wish list. The target of bringing twenty or more goals into the team seems stiff given the possible departure of Suarez however if BR was suggesting that the rest of the team need to score more then fine. Reading between the lines of this quote I sense that BR knows that the 2013-14 season is crunch time. The patience he has been afforded since he started will, in some quarters, begin to run out. Talk of players hitting the ground running is also fine in theory but all too often the reality of the situation is different?
BR also took time to look back over his first season with us and sadly his comments fall back onto the less than convincing arguments and excuses that have dogged his utterances since he joined.
“What we have shown in my first season is promise. There have been moments of disappointment and moments of delight but when I look at the reality of it we scored 47 goals the season before I arrived and this time got 71, and we hope to add to that amount. Defensively, for a team that was supposedly very strong last year, we only conceded three more goals so in terms of numbers and performance-wise then we have improved.”
There are lies, dammed lies, and statistics. Although we scored more goals and conceded three less the fact is we only finished one place higher than we did last season and didn’t reach any finals were as the season before we reached two and won of them. I also wish BR would stop harking on about the previous regime(s) as if they had just crawled out of the primeval footballing swamp and that, as a result, he has been left with a crock of sh*t. Some of Kenny’s signings were over expensive however, many of the players that ply their trade for BR were signed by him or previous managers, Luis Suarez for example. I am not anti BR and do not slavishly worship at the golden alter of Dalglish however, it simply does not wash for BR to try and buy time by suggesting he’s been left with the sh*tty end of the stick?
“I believe we will improve again and we have to because we want to sustain a challenge. I think we can do but it will be a tough ask because as we improve other clubs will have masses more money to improve also. But I believe we have built a real good base. It’s not my job to look for excuses…”
Well Brendon stop making them then. It is tiring and unnecessary. The fans will give you time if they see you are genuine and passionate. Just get on with it, stop trying to cover your tracks or constantly justify yourself at the expense of others!
Meanwhile Luis’s lamenting his lot again. In addition to being hard done by the media he, correctly, feels he’s been a victim of the FA’s lack of consistency. Re the ban for the Evra incident
“Without any proof they gave me an eight-match ban. But with (John) Terry, where they had proof, lip-readers, they gave him four. I’m South American and I think that’s the root of all of this.”
I sympathise with Suarez on this point but why on earth didn’t mention this when it happened instead of letting it fester inside him and dredging it up (conveniently?) when he wants a move? Doe he really feel this will make his move easier? Does he really think it will placate everyone?
He also gave us some indication as how all this has effected his family.
“About a week ago I was walking in a shopping centre near Manchester and three or four guys asked me for a photo. While we were posing for it my wife said to me: ‘Luis, get out of the photo.’ She noticed they were making biting gestures. I was with my wife and my daughter. Things like that get on your nerves. My wife was on the brink of tears and the blokes ran off laughing. You get tired of stuff like that.”
Again one is tempted to say “don’t bite players then” however the overriding thing that strikes me when hearing this tale is not “you poor thing, pack your bags and go to Spain with our blessing” but what the f*ck was Suarez doing shopping in Manchester! If you play with fire…….?